News 3 Investigates: Major Flip-Flopping on Debt Ceiling Issue - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

News 3 Investigates: Major Flip-Flopping on Debt Ceiling Issue

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

When it comes to their positions on the debt ceiling, local lawmakers might say their positions have "evolved."

Every single one of them.

News 3 looked through the voting records of every local lawmaker on the debt ceiling since 2002, and watched -- as control of Congress and the White House shifted -- every lawmaker change their position (and sometimes their rationale) on the debt ceiling.

In 2005, for example, when George W. Bush was president and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, Democrats held out support for President Bush's budget. Attached to those negotiations: an increase in the debt ceiling.

By 2011, of course, Barack Obama was in the White House and the Congress was divided. Suddenly Democrats found themselves in favor of an increase and Republicans moved to the 'No' column.

While the debt ceiling has always been part of negotiations (the budget in 2005, a foreclosure protection act in 2008), 2011 marked the first time the debt ceiling was used as a weapon.

Don't take it from us: in May 2002, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, took to the floor and read from House Rules to make a point the debt ceiling was not something to mess around with.

"Let us get off the process issue," Kingston said of the debt ceiling. "This is a standard thing that the Committee on Rules has done."

Now a small group of Republicans is even willing to take a Treasury default out for a spin, saying America has the money to pay its creditors by cutting off funding to other recipients of federal funds, such as Social Security and Medicare.

By virtue of their length of service, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., have not been faced with debt ceiling votes under two administrations.

The Treasury Department could face a cash shortfall when it hits the debt ceiling as early as October 17th, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

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